Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Iran Attack Puts Pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu While Allies Suggest Caution

Iran Attack Puts Pressure on Benjamin NetanyahuIran Attack Puts Pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu

Iran: All eyes are on Israel following Iran’s unprecedented attack, but its war cabinet has not indicated a preference for the course of action, while allies who helped avert the strike urge caution.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been less vociferous than usual, has yet to specify the shape, form, or timing of his response to Iran’s first direct attack on Israeli soil.

Iran launched around 300 drones and missiles on Saturday in reaction to an April 1 raid on the Islamic Republic’s consulate in Damascus, which is mainly blamed on Israel.

Faced with friends advocating caution on one side and some domestic politicians asking for a tough response on the other, Netanyahu met with his military cabinet twice and called US President Joe Biden.

He hasn’t addressed the issue publicly since Sunday when he briefly commended the Israeli defense in a post on X(Twitter).

Iran’s attack will “be met with a response,” according to Israeli Army Chief Herzi Halevi, who did not define the form or time of the response.

“There’s been significant pressure on the Israeli government in the past 48 hours to react, given the highly unusual nature of the attack,” explained Raz Zimmt, an Iran researcher at Tel Aviv University, speaking to AFP.

He added, “Even if the Israeli government prefers to avoid getting involved in a large-scale conflict, it may find it difficult to refrain from an immediate response.”

Zimmt stated that “some covert activity without Israel taking responsibility for that in Iran” is what he would rather see.

On the evening of the Iranian launches, Itamar Ben Gvir, the minister of national security, stated that a firm reaction was required.

The far-right minister stated on X(Twitter) that “there must be a crushing attack — there must be an impressive defense until now.”

Nothing to “hurry”

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, on the other hand, condemned hawkish activity and lambasted “those who want to set fire to the entire Middle East.”

Others, such as Knesset member Gideon Saar, urged patience.

Israel does not need to rush in its response and disrupt the priorities it set for itself, Saar stated on the X.

Now, the emphasis must go back to achieving success in Gaza by overthrowing Hamas and releasing the hostages.

Israel, concerned about potential isolation amid the Gaza conflict, highlighted and emphasized its collaboration with the US, UK, and France, along with support from regional players like Jordan, in thwarting Iran’s assault.

Without this support, Israel’s aerial defense system, including the Iron Dome, might have been overrun by Iranian attacks.

However, Western governments, particularly those backing Israel’s defense, have cautioned against escalation.

A US official stated on Sunday that Washington would abstain from involvement in any prospective retaliation by Israel.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and French President Emmanuel Macron also advised against retaliation.

Even Iran stated that it regarded the issue as “closed” unless Israel opted for “another mistake,” in which case Iran’s response would be “significantly more severe.”

‘Covert’ answer.

Calev Ben-Dor, former analyst for the Israeli foreign ministry and now deputy editor-in-chief for the specialized review Fathom, summarized, “Maintaining this almost unprecedented defense alliance would be beneficial, which may encourage restraint.”

He continued, however, in the Middle East, facing over 300 missiles and drones without responding is not feasible.

“I anticipate no immediate action within the next two weeks or so. However, I believe Israel will retaliate at some point, likely through covert means rather than publicly, at a time and location of its choosing,” he added.

Jean-Loup Samaan, an analyst for the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), notes that the coalition’s assistance constrains Israel’s flexibility, as it is somewhat beholden to the US.

“What appears improbable to me is a direct retaliation against the Iranians; it’s a decision that Netanyahu cannot make without consulting the Biden administration,” he informed AFP.

“Considering that Israeli defense systems are predominantly funded by the Americans, I believe they won’t take any risks or display ingratitude,” he further remarks.

A diplomat representing a coalition member informed AFP that they were content that the “hawks’ stance” did not dominate over the weekend.

Also Read: AP News

Regarding Netanyahu’s absence of a public reaction, Jeremy Issacharoff, a former Israeli diplomat, advised AFP that “less is more.”

“I believe the Iranians should feel uneasy and be kept in the dark as much as feasible, with no need to offer them any reassurances,” he appends.

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